Realtor Q&A: Everything You Need to Know About House-Hunting in Blue Bell
Last year, when we interviewed two Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates about Ambler, you, dear readers, got very excited. (Turns out, people are positively enamored with the sweet suburb!) So, when it came time to profile another blossoming ‘burb, Blue Bell was the obvious pick.
Often deemed a weekend destination, thanks to its much-loved inns and brunch spots, Blue Bell has become a darling amongst homebuyers who may favor the charm of younger boroughs, like Conshohocken, but are in search of an older demographic and a top-notch school district.
To get the scoop on moving there, we chatted with two Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates, who provided genius home-buying tips.
What’s the average price range for residences in Blue Bell?
Nicole Miller-DeSantis: Based on Residential Activity Snapshot, the average price seems to hover in the low $400K range.
Who is moving to Blue Bell? What attracts them to the area?
Kevin Reddington: In Blue Bell, we have Blue Bell Country Club, which offers single-family homes [as well as] townhomes, so you get a mix of people that are empty nesters and, in some cases, first-time homebuyers. There are also a lot of middle buyers—people who are selling their first homes and moving up to bigger homes.
The area is also conveniently located — it’s near King of Prussia, the Turnpike and Route 309. It’s also very unique in that it’s not its own municipality; rather, it’s an area that covers three or four different municipalities.
With that kind of accessibility, do you find that a lot of the homebuyers work in the city?
Reddington: Yes, a fair amount of residents work in the city or out towards Valley Forge and King of Prussia. For the residents who have to take the train, it is a very good route system. The R5, which is the Doylestown line, runs right through Penllyn and Blue Bell.
There are a lot of suburbs from which to choose. What differentiates Blue Bell from the surrounding region?
Miller-DeSantis: I am biased, as I grew up in Blue Bell, and I’ve seen the area develop over the years, however, it still retains that small-town, bighearted mentality. It’s a town where everyone knows everyone and will embrace you quickly if you’re new to the area because the “locals” are genuinely excited to help get you acclimated to experience everything Blue Bell has to offer.
Reddington: I would say the benefit is probably the school district and also the size of the lot that you get. You typically get a bigger yard or bigger lot in the townships that encompass Blue Bell. It’s not overbuilt, either, and the roads aren’t terribly congested.
How should potential homebuyers approach the home hunt in Blue Bell? What strategies do you implement with your own clients?
Reddington: I tell them to not be extremely picky. They’re buying location second to the house. There’s very little inventory here, so I tell them to just be prepared for competition and if they see something they like, jump on it. In this market, I normally tell them that you may not get a second chance, so put your best foot forward.
Miller-DeSantis: Blue Bell is super-hot these days, so any online spectators should find a realtor who is knowledgeable with the local market. Stopping by an open house won’t help you secure the house of your dreams because the prepared buyer already has a skilled agent with a pulse on what is coming on the market—often before it hits the MLS.
Regarding my approach with buyers: They should be pre-approved, so they know what their purchase power is. (Ed. Note: Pre-approval can also give homebuyers an edge over buyers who have not taken the time to do this step!) Once pre-approved, I prepare a portal of homes that match their criteria. If it is a couple, I typically want them to establish their 15-25 “must haves” in a home, which is an exercise that should generate at least a dozen shared “must have” items between them. Based on that information, the portal is generated and provides daily notifications of new listings on MLS. If the listing meets the top “must haves” on their list, then I’ll schedule a showing and reach out to the listing agent to determine the timeline and motivation of the seller.
Is there a sense of community within Blue Bell? How so?
Miller-DeSantis: Yes, it’s an amazing community that comes together for fundraising events, such as 5K walks/runs and concerts at Wentz Run Park throughout the summer. The largest collective community effort was organizing and developing Center Square Park behind Saint Helena where the Montgomery County Horse Show & Fair was hosted for years. This is also a dog park with great trails, which offers serene beauty, as well as an improved location for the numerous sports organized by WRA (Whitpain Recreation Association). The WRA is an amazing volunteer organization dedicated to introducing and enhancing our children’s love of sports and their understanding of team building.
Are there any restaurants popular amongst locals?
Miller-DeSantis: I’m more of a foodie, so my concentration is on dining. There are a lot of great spots. My top two are Blue Bell Inn, which had an amazing multimillion-dollar renovation a few years ago and they bring in local talent to perform. The other is Castellos, which is an amazing BYOB whose owner Habib is opening up a new, much anticipated restaurant located on the corner of Penllyn Blue Bell Pike and Rte. 73 called Panache. In terms of pizza, there is no contest — Palermo’s Pizza.
Why should readers make the jump from viewing Blue Bell as a weekend destination to a residence?
Miller-DeSantis: In terms of establishing residency, Blue Bell can be as fun-filled or relaxing as any weekend destination would be—and a lot less travel too!
For more information about buying or selling a home in the communities of the Greater Philadelphia area and the Delaware Valley, including southern New Jersey and northern Delaware, visit the Coldwell Banker Preferred Blue Bell office here.
These interviews have been condensed and edited for length.This is a paid partnership between Coldwell Banker Preferred and Philadelphia Magazine's City/Studio